So that's it.
The Shield is "officially" broken up. No grand finale, no awkward bro hugs, just one dastardly turncoat and the brothers he left behind. And now that Dean Ambrose is walking around like he just stabbed Bob near the fountain at Crutchfield Park, I'd say the "Hounds of Justice" are no more.
For now, anyway.
Even though I'm sad they're gone, I'm also fairly confident they'll be back somewhere down the road. Simply because it's an opportunity that's too good to pass up. Ironically, that's the same reason they broke up, because Ambrose, along with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, were too talented as singles performers to remain bound to a faction.
At least they went out with some dignity.
While there is nothing dignified about eating a chair shot, there were countless ways WWE could have kept the party going. But in a rare case of creative restraint, it didn't, and I'm grateful we didn't end up with Mason Ryan as the new "enforcer" of the group, or Curtis Axel -- complete with bad dye job -- as the (shudders) "architect."
Even worse, Reigns could have broken off to form The Sword, a face counter-faction.
But none of that happened.
Instead, they split up during their prime, following 19 months of pure awesomeness both inside and outside the ring. It's kind of crazy when you think about just how good their matches were when they -- for all intents and purposes -- were a bunch of rookies.
By WWE standards, of course.
I'm sure a few lessons were learned from the New World Order (nWo), one of the most revered factions of all time. But what started as a game changer ended as a punchline, thanks to a bloated stable, insipid matches and welp, just about everything else.
Disco Inferno was a member of nWo "Elite."
Can you imagine the outrage from the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) if Fandango joined The Shield? The original incarnation of nWo started with three -- Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash -- and finished with nearly 30 members when all was said and done.
Thankfully, The Shield avoided any such fate.
Whether or not that's temporary remains to be seen. WWE doesn't have the best track record when it comes to factions (Shawn Michaels beret is now trending!) because what's often overlooked is the group's identity. It's different when you have a stable like Paul Heyman Guys, which is this generation's Heenan Family, because the identity belongs to the manager.
The Shield was different.
Hopefully they stay that way, because they were that damn good. And when the time comes to reunite them, when Creative has nothing for Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns, they can get back together and through the
stupidity magic of WWE storytelling, they'll easily explain why it's okay to trust "The Architect" again.